The athletes at Cary-Grove High School in Cary, Illinois, could choose from any number of justifiable excuses for failure: They are the smallest school in their division, the school budget is tight, and the weightroom is so inadequate that the athletes have to perform many of their exercises in the hallways. But rather than looking at these realities as obstacles that guarantee failure, the coaches look at them as challenges. The result is that Cary-Grove has one of the most successful athletic programs in the state.
Some of their athletic accomplishments last year, for example, include state championships in volleyball and football. Head football coach Bruce Kay, who has been coaching for 32 years, had gotten close to the top, losing only six games in six years, but the big prize eluded his Trojans until they defeated Providence 34-17 in the championship game last winter. It was their first state football championship since the school opened 49 years ago.
Kay, who also serves as the athletic director, encourages all athletes to compete in multiple sports because with 1,900 students, they are at a disadvantage due to their relatively low school enrollment. When Kay was asked what the biggest differences are between coaching athletes now versus when he started, he replied, “Success requires a year-round commitment, but the biggest difference is the weight training – you have to get strong in every sport.” Fortunately, at Cary-Grove, getting athletes into the weightroom is not a problem…
This article appeared in the May-June 2010 issue of the BFS Magazine. Read the full article in the BFS Archives.